Tag Archives: Tapio Syrjälä

A Visit With Tapio Syrjälä

It was exactly two years ago today that I featured Tapio Syrjälä on Nordiska Knivar. He was at the beginning of his career as a puukkoseppä, he’d been making knives in a converted sauna for less than a year. I’ve followed his progress at Puukkolareena on Facebook and contacted him recently to ask him how it’s been going. I’m very impressed with his work and would like to present some of it here for you. Thank you Tapio, it’s been a pleasure, keep up the great work!

To contact Tapio  visit his website: http://tsyrjala.blogspot.fi/

To read the original post and profile: Tapio Syrjälä

Here is our conversation:

What have been your accomplishments in the past two years?

I have got the working part the way I like, more precise and lots of accuracy to the work. I have also tried to end the forging part of the making, since I have noticed that it’s not much my way to do knives. I get better end results by just removing everything out until it looks like a knife. I’ve also gotten membership to the Finnish Knife Makers Guild

What have you learned as you’ve gained more experience?

That the learning process never ends, as I have recently made some Loveless design knives. I have learned a lot, and I think that it’s not good for anyone to make just one kind of knife. I am always seeking new designs to make.

 Have you taken any courses or studied with anyone?

Still self taught 🙂

How has your work changed or grown? It’s very elegant and refined.

If we think only the puukko knives, I have learned how I like to make them.

Do you still like making the traditional puukko?

Yes, it’s something I can make very easily at these days.

What have been your greatest influences in the past two years?

For past few months, I have made a few Loveless design knives, so maybe Bob Loveless. The simplicity is the thing for me. I hope I can add something to the puukko, from other knife designs.

You have obviously progressed past the hobby stage, have you expanded your shop?

Yes I have expanded my shop, removed one wall last summer, and the biggest thing is that I got a new belt sander which is more professional than that what I used to use. Also I have gotten the heat treatment process  very consistent.

Are you working as a puukkoseppä full time?

Almost, but I am not taking it as a job. 😉

 What materials do you currently favor?

When it comes to materials, I have noticed that there are a few wood species which are susceptible to shrinking and changing shape, and curly birch is one those. And for some reason, I really hate when that happens.

But, if I want to make a wooden handle, I like walnut, or grenadil etc. hardwood for those.I really like to use stabilized wood, that stays in its place after the work is ready.

I think that your work has been welcomed by puukko lovers, what have the past two years been like since the original post on Nordiska Knivar?

I like this knife making more and more.

Is there any kind of knife that you haven’t made yet that you want to make?

I have some plans to make few integral knives, but that is in the future.

What knife are you currently using as your everyday knife?

How does the saying go, “the cobbler’s children have no shoes”?

What are your future goals as a smith?

That is really hard to say. I just go with the flow, which suits me.

Tapio

Tapio Syrjälä

Tapio damascus puukko

Tapio puukko

Tapio lady puukko

Tapio puukko2

Tapio puukko3

Tapio dam puukko

Tapio 2

Tapio 3 puukkos

 

Tapio 4

Tapio 7

Tapio boot

Tapio pearl

Tapio 6

Tapio

Tapuio loveless

Tapio 5

Tapio 3

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Tapio Syrjälä

I have recently become acquainted with Tapio Syrjälä through Sami Länsipaltta’s Facebook group, Puukkolareena. Tapio has been posting photos of some very nice puukkos with curly birch handles so I sent him an email to find out more about him and his work.

Tapio lives in  Aura, Finland and has been making puukkos for less than a year.  He appreciates the traditional puukko and is able to capture its unique qualities in his work.  He’s created a shop  in a converted sauna in the yard at his house and he’s come a long way in less than a year.  I’m pleased to feature his work here and I hope he’ll be a frequent contributor. Thanks Tapio, very nice work, you’ve got a great future ahead of you!

To contact Tapio (before his waiting list grows too long!) visit his website at http://tsyrjala.blogspot.fi/

Tapio Syrjälä:

“I have always used and been interested in knives. I remember that I had my first Swiss army knife when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I started knife making last spring (2013), when I had a puukko with a very bad sheath, so I started to search the web on how to make a better sheath for that puukko. When I was searching for some kind of guide to make a sheath, I found some blades from one web store, so I thought I’d like to try to make my own puukko! First I ordered blades, but that is not for me, so I had to start to make my own blades, first in the yard, but now I have indoor space to practice knife making.

I´m self taught, still learning and I have a lot to learn. I take a little bit here and there depending on what suits the way I work. In most cases, I have to come up with a suitable way to work. When I started to do my first puukko, I really didn’t have any influences, but now I try to make simple and fine looking practical tools which are traditional puukko design with some kind of a pinch of me.

I really like traditional materials like curly birch, birch burl, and all other types of Finnish wood. Also, brass is my favorite material for fittings, all the brass I use I smelt by myself from old scrap metal. For the blade, I think the best material is carbon steel. Now I use 80crv2 steel. It’s basic carbon steel with 0.8% carbon and light add chrome and 0.2% vanadium. Now I have some silversteel but I did not test that enough yet to do a blade from it.  I really want to do my own blade metal, like wootz. I have one friend nearby who practices this kind of work so… maybe that is the next story?

While I don’t have a favorite type of puukko, I like simple and practical puukkos. Where I live in Aura, Varsinais-Suomi, near Turku there’s no traditional style of puukko. Maybe some day will be? I really hope that also ordinary Finnish people start to understand the culture of puukko. I think that modern people have forgotten why a knife is such an important tool.

I never did make the sheath for that puukko, but I am still on that same road to make my own puukkos. This is a hobby for me now, but I really hope that someday I can make knives for living.”

Tapio Syrälä forging a blade.

8t

17t

18t

16t

13t

12t

7t

Tapio's everyday user puukko.

Tapio’s everyday user puukko.

9t

10t

"One of my first knives with self made blade with old stamp, maybe number 2? The blade is spring steel, handle is curly pine. I still use this knife when I have to do some kinda rough work, like cutting everything that should not be cut with a knife :)"

“One of my first knives with self made blade with old stamp, maybe number 2?
The blade is spring steel, handle is curly pine. I still use this knife when I have to do some kinda rough work, like cutting everything that should not be cut with a knife :)”

Tapio Syrjälä

Tapio Syrjälä

Tapio's shop.

Tapio’s workshop.

15t

Tapio's race car that he built.

Tapio’s drift car that he built.

22t